Introduction: Upcycled Tarpaulin Pencil Case

Picture of Upcycled Tarpaulin Pencil Case

For our Design and Make Technology class, we came up with the idea to up-cycle some scrap tarpaulin which was previously used for school posters and banners. We thought of making backpacks, drawstring bags, tote bags, and several other items. Finally, we decided to make a pencil case that we customized for our own needs. We hope that this instructable could inspire you to make your own!

Step 1: What You'll Need

  • Scrap Tarpaulin
  • Marker
  • Ruler
  • Velcro
  • Zipper
  • Scissors
  • Sewing materials: pins, thread, needles

Step 2: Designing the Pencil Case

Picture of Designing the Pencil Case

In our design, we considered the items we have in our existing pencil cases. We wanted to be able to fit all pens and other stationery without the pencil case getting bulky.

Our design includes:

  • 1 main pouch
  • 1 folding attachment with
  • 1 small pocket
  • 3 pen slots

Here, we have included some our draft sketches.

Step 3: Laying Out the Pieces

Picture of Laying Out the Pieces

From the final sketches, we visualized the pieces that we're going to need. We have included here a template for our design, but feel free to make your own. You may also lay out your pieces while considering the design on the scrap tarpaulin.

Step 4: Cutting the Pieces

Picture of Cutting the Pieces

When cutting the pieces, be sure to leave at least 1 cm seam allowance.

Step 5: Making the Main Case

Picture of Making the Main Case

Lay the glossy part of the tarpaulin piece for the main pouch right side up and put the zipper on top. Next, put another layer of tarpaulin with the glossy part facing down. Zip the zipper before sewing one side of it onto the tarpaulin piece. To make work easier, pin the zipper and the tarpaulin pieces together before sewing. Do the same for the other side of the zipper.

Afterwards, align all four tarpaulin pieces and sew the bottom edge so that the glossy part is inside.

Next, unzip the zipper halfway. Pin one side of the case and sew all the pieces together. Place your hand inside the sewn side of the case to make a triangle and draw a line across it. This will be where you will stitch to make the case boxy. Do this for both sides.

Lastly, trim excess thread before flipping the case inside out.

Step 6: Making the Folding Case

Picture of Making the Folding Case

Start with making hems for the pockets and slots. In our template, the blue dashed lines indicate the hems. Also, make the lock by folding the tarp piece into a strip.

Sew the pockets and slots to the inner tarp piece. For the pocket, make sure to consider the space you need to place your items. For the slots, you may use a sample pen to measure the diameter of the slot. Use a pin to secure it then start sewing.

Next, make a crease on the edges of both the inner and outer tarp pieces. Sew the two pieces together, including the lock which should be placed in the middle of the side with the pen slots.

Step 7: Add Velcros

Attaching the Main Pouch to the Roll-up Case:

Cut 2 square pieces of hook-and-loop fasteners (commonly known as “Velcro”) for the main pouch and the roll up case. Space 2 loop strips onto the main pouch accordingly then stitch. Do the same for the roll up case but this time, using the hook strips. Make sure that the fasteners on the main pouch and the roll up case align!

Closing the Roll-up Case:

Place a small tarpaulin piece on to the left side of the case then stitch the cut hook strip. Do the same for the right side of the case. Place the loop strip outside the case making sure that the hook and loop strips will align when the case is rolled.

Step 8: Fill It With Pens and Other Items!

Picture of Fill It With Pens and Other Items!

Your pencil case is done!

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